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With schools closed for coronavirus safety, mums and dads are having to juggle learning at home with keeping kids entertained and happy every day.
It’s a tricky time for everyone, especially if you’ve never done it before – so what’s the best way to make sure there’s still some useful structure in their day but without too many family meltdowns?
Ali Fiddler who is from Huyton, a teacher at Frodsham Manor House Primary, says one of the main things to remember is that parents aren’t substitute teachers, taking over where classroom sessions left off.
“We’re not expecting parents to teach the rest of the curriculum that we won’t have chance to,” she stresses. “We’re just asking them to consolidate what children have already learnt and use the time to help them get really confident in what they already know.”
Here are her top tips for home learning …
“It’s going to be a stressful time for parents and children so taking care of wellbeing is going to be really important, it’s not just about teaching them maths, English and science. For instance, there are lots of mindfulness videos on YouTube and you could get them doing yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga online is really good, it’s specifically for kids and it looks at different breathing techniques to help them manage stress.”
“Try to do some exercise at the same time as learning because it releases endorphins so children are more likely to have fun. Think about creating a circuit in the back garden but putting maths or science questions on each obstacle or stop-off point, or set up a shop and do money puzzles. Activities like that make learning more practical and active, and more enjoyable.”
“Don’t try to make your day at home like a regular 9-3pm school day, break it up into chunks – it’ll make things more interesting for everyone and it’ll be easier for children to keep their concentration.”
“Multi-sensory learning makes both sides of the brain work so children remember things more. For instance get some chalks, which children love using outside, and chalk spellings or simple maths on the path and then just hose it away or wait for the rain to wash it off. Use paint, sand or shaving foam to do spellings – it’s just a more fun way to practice. Pasta or rice grains are a good idea if you can get hold of them – put a little bit of food colouring in rice and leave it overnight to dry out before using it.”
“Lots of children don’t know how to tell the time and teachers only get to teach it once a year. It’s a life-skill they really need, understanding the 12- and 24-hour clock, so this is a perfect opportunity for them to practice. Maybe do timed questions, so say: ‘we’re going to do maths for 40 minutes, what time is it now and what time will we finish?’ to get them thinking about it more.”
“Coding is really popular in primary schools and children absolutely love it. We find it really promotes perseverance skills and creativity and it links into maths as well – try free coding apps and websites such as Scratch and Cargo-Bot.”
“A lot of companies have made things which schools usually pay for available free to parents. Websites like Twinkl and Scholastic are full of primary resources and they’re now free so parents can just log in and print them out.”
“Read, read, read – some children only read in school, not at home, so now’s the time to get into reading magazines, books, anything. Parents should ask questions while children are reading to make sure they’re understanding too. Stop at points through a book and ask about characters’ feelings or a bit more about what’s happening and why.”
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